Category: Mitt Romney

Flap’s California Morning Collection: July 23, 2012


San Francisco, California

The California Legislature is not in session for a summer recess.

The California Assembly has adjourned until August 6, 2012 and the California State Senate is also in adjournment.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Pool report: Mitt Romney tells SF fundraiser “somebody’s got to do something for California”

GOP Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, addressing a crowded campaign fundraiser in the Democratic bastion of San Francisco, told laughing supporters Sunday, “Boy, somebody’s got to do something for California…the right leadership would make a difference here.”

Romney made the comments during a half hour address to donors at the Fairmont Hotel, one of his three fundraisers in the Bay Area Sunday. Both his Fairmont fundraiser and two held in private homes in Woodside and San Francisco were hosted in part by former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, the Hewlett Packard CEO, who was singled out for applause by Romney and a received a standing ovation at the Fairmont stop.

The former Massachusetts Governor, who like President Obama had suspended campaign events in the wake of the Colorado movie theater massacre this week, told backers that “our hearts are with many of the people who lost loved ones” in the Aurora mass killings, and praised Obama’s stop in Aurora to meet with victims entirely appropriate.

Here’s the full and unedited pool report of tonight’s Romney fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel, as provided by the local print pool reporter allowed to cover the event, Josh Richman of the Oakland Tribune:

Romney entered the Fairmont Hotel’s Gold room at 5:32 p.m. to a cheering, standing ovation.

Barack Obama, Mitt Romney back to raise money in California

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney will return to the Bay Area on Sunday and Monday — back to buck-rake once again in donor-rich California.

Obama is scheduled Monday to raise money at a dinner at the Piedmont home of developer and real estate investor Wayne Jordan and his wife, activist Quinn Delaney. Tickets were listed at $35,800 per person.

Obama is also scheduled Monday to attend a larger fundraising reception at the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland.

Mitt Romney focuses on economy in Bay Area speech

Promising to avoid partisan attacks in the wake of Friday’s movie-theater massacre in Colorado, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke to campaign contributors Sunday about his own five-step plan to fix America’s economy.

Speaking to about 250 supporters who’d paid from $2,500 to $10,000 each to attend a reception at the Fairmont Hotel, the former Massachusetts governor praised President Barack Obama’s last-minute trip to Aurora, Colo., as appropriate and befitting his office.

The audience observed a moment of silence for the Colorado victims. “We turn to a power greater than our own to understand purpose, and if not to understand at least to be able to soothe the wounds of those who have been so seriously hurt,” Romney said.

Romney noted the audience included about 25 members of Gold Star and Blue Star families — those who’ve lost relatives in military service, and those who have relatives currently serving. He observed “the great sense of unity that comes in this country as we recognize those who serve our country.”

Turning to the economy, Romney said “there is that entrepreneurialism in the American spirit which, if tapped, will allow us to reboot our economy, and soon.”

To tap it, he said, he first would tap into America’s “massive new resources, both in oil and gas.”

Second, Romney said, he would pursue more foreign trade, which he said “puts more Americans to work in higher-paying jobs.”

Republican Party in California Is Caught in Cycle of Decline

This would seem a moment of great opportunity for California Republicans. The state has become a national symbol of fiscal turmoil and dysfunction, the Legislature is nearly as unpopular as Congress and Democrats control every branch of government.

But instead, the state party — once a symbol of Republican hope and geographical reach and which gave the nation Ronald Reagan (and Richard M. Nixon) — is caught in a cycle of relentless decline, and appears in danger of shrinking to the rank of a minor party.

“We are at a lower point than we’ve ever been,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 Republican in the United States House of Representatives. “It’s rebuilding time.”

Registered Republicans now account for just 30 percent of the California electorate, and are on a path that analysts predict could drop them to No. 3 in six years, behind Democrats, who currently make up 43 percent, and independent voters, with 21 percent.

“It’s no longer a statewide party,” said Allan Hoffenblum, who worked for 30 years as a Republican consultant in California. “They are down to 30 percent, which makes it impossible to win a statewide election. You just can’t get enough crossover voters.”

“They have alienated large swaths of voters,” he said. “They have become too doctrinaire on the social issues. It’s become a cult.”

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters Daily video: Good news on job growth but ‘long row to hoe’


Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 30, 2012


Fallbrook, California

Good Wednesday Morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

California Governor Jerry Brown will address County Supervisors.

Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled to take his pitch for his compromise tax measure to the California State Association of Counties, whose members are in Sacramento today and Thursday for a legislative conference.

Brown is also expected to discuss his revised budget proposal at a luncheon scheduled at the Hyatt Regency across L Street from the Capitol, according to the program agenda for the event.

County supervisors will also be talking about realignment of health and human services as well as the end of redevelopment agencies.

Other listed speakers at the CSAC conference include Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Senate Republican leader Bob Huff, and Brown adviser Diane Cummins, all of whom address a general session starting at 8:30 a.m.

On to today’s California headlines:

The Board of Equalization is holding a public hearing on implementing last year’s Assembly Bill 155, re: Amazon Tax.

The Board of Equalization, meanwhile, is holding a public hearing on implementing last year’s Assembly Bill 155, the compromise legislation on collecting sales tax from and other Internet retail operations.

Alert readers will remember that Amazon agreed to drop its efforts to put a measure on the ballot in exchange for the state delaying collection of that tax until Sept. 15 of this year — that is, unless Congress comes up with a deal by July 31. (Capitol Alert is not holding its breath.) The meeting starts at 10 a.m. at 450 N St. Click here to read the agenda.

Romney Mines for California Gold in Hillsborough and Beverly Crest

While the Democrats have been busy mining Hollywood for campaign contributions, the Republicans’ presumptive nominee — La Jolla’s own Mitt Romney — will drop into both Northern and Southern California on Wednesday and Thursday for fundraisers thrown by some of the state’s GOP high rollers.

Thursday’s event is set for the art-filled Beverly Crest mansion of billionaire investor and philanthropist Tony Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune. The 7:30 p.m. gathering is a dinner for the candidate with tickets going for $50,000 per couple. As with previous Romney fundraisers in Los Angeles, there likely will be a few Hollywood names and a large showing by the investment and finance communities.

Wednesday’s fundraiser is notable for site alone: The spectacular Carolands Chateau in the old-money Bay Area enclave of Hillsborough. Romney’s hosts include the home’s owners — Charles Bartlett Johnson, the billionaire investor and heir to the Templeton Franklin fortune, and his wife, Dr. Anne Johnson — along with former Secretary of State George Schultz and ex-California Gov. Pete Wilson.

The event’s co-chairs are a who’s who of the Northern California finance and technology elite, including Seagate CEO Steve Luczo, HP honcho and former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman (who made her bones at eBay), Cisco director Brian Halla, private-equity chief Dick Boyce, Goldman Sachs’ Brad DeFoor, Pacific Private Equity’s Grant Finlayson and Romney’s one-time Bain Capital partner, Vince Tobkin.

Richard Riordan launches effort to court Latinos for GOP

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan’s political moderation and penchant for reaching across party lines hasn’t always sat well with many of his fellow California Republicans. They’ve long derided him as a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) and soundly rejected him for a more conservative pol when he ran for the GOP nomination for governor in 2002.

Now the wealthy businessman and philanthropist is playing the maverick again. He’s launched a campaign aimed at coaxing Latinos into the Republican fold — and he’s doing it without the state party’s involvement.

On Memorial Day, Riordan launched a radio ad campaign  under the auspices of Republicans Rebuilding California, a new political action committee he funded. The PAC will neither support specific candidates nor work with the party but is asking Latinos to consider “the Republican values: jobs, education and safety.”

Riordan has spent $43,000 on ads on bilingual and Spanish-language radio stations in areas where Republicans are in competitive races and there are large Spanish-speaking populations. They include Riverside, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and the Central Valley communities of Modesto, Stockton and Bakersfield, according to a spokeswoman for the new organization.

California Senate passes framework for sports betting

The California state Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved legislation that would legalize sports betting in California if federal law is also amended.

Senate Bill 1390, by Sens. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood, and Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, would make such betting legal at currently licensed gambling establishments, horse racing tracks or satellite wagering facility. The bill would not make betting legal anywhere that does not already have a license.

Federal law now prohibits these wagers, but Wright said he believes it “will be amended.”

“When this law is changed, and we believe it will be, you want California to be in the position to move forward with this,” he said.

Enjoy your morning!


Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 26, 2012


Mission San Juan Capistrano

Good Monday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  But, there are no floor sessions scheduled until Monday afternoon. Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California headlines:

California presidential gold rush week begins

While the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act today, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will stop by a San Diego medical device firm and dine with contributors during a brief swing through the Golden State.

Romney is slated to appear this morning at the San Diego headquarters of NuVasive, which describes itself as a developer of “minimally disruptive surgical products and procedures for the spine.”

He also will have two fundraisers today with some big-name hosts. Former Gov. Pete Wilson will be on hand at the San Diego luncheon, while former gubernatorial candidate and HP executive Meg Whitman will host a dinner in Redwood City.

Romney will have three fundraisers across the state Tuesday, including one at the Stockton home of developer Alex G. Spanos.

But Romney isn’t the only one visiting California this week. Presidential rival Rick Santorum will hold a rally and fundraiser Thursday at the Jelly Belly Candy Company.

Strong majority backs Jerry Brown’s tax-hike initiative

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they supported the measure that the governor hopes to place on the November ballot. It would hike the sales tax and levies on upper incomes to help raise money for schools and balance the state’s budget.

Dan Walters: Big pension conflicts ahead in California

California’s great public pension battles are heating up, and may be headed for some kind of political explosion.

The Legislature’s Democratic majority appears to be doing its best to ignore significant pension reform, even though Gov. Jerry Brown says the current system is “unsustainable” and an overhaul is needed to persuade voters to raise taxes this year.

Democrats are reluctant to do anything that public employee unions oppose – such as passing Brown’s 12-point pension reform plan – in a year when they’ll be running in much-changed districts and will need all the union help they can get.

With Brown’s plan stuck in neutral and an outside pension initiative dead for lack of financing, the big action will be in the state’s second- and third-largest cities, San Diego and San Jose, where unions are pulling out all the stops to prevent voters from even seeing pension reform on their ballots this year.

Ballot designations matter for candidates

Inland Southern California lawmakers Mike Morrell, Jeff Miller, Bob Dutton and Kevin Jeffries spend a large chunk of their week in Sacramento, voting on bills and sitting through committee hearings as state legislators making base annual salaries of $95,291.

All of them want voters this year to view them as something different: businessmen.

Around the state, election officials have been busy reviewing candidates’ proposed ballot designations before this week’s announcement of qualified candidates for the June 5 primary election. The regulations require that the descriptions, generally limited to three words, reflect “the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations” of the candidate.

The brief descriptions are the last bit of candidate information voters see in the polling booth, alongside often unfamiliar names, so candidates try to put their best foot forward. Experts say the three words carry outsized importance.

And, finally, Dan Walters on why  “Green” jobs won’t save California. Watch below:

Enjoy your morning!


President 2012: Will California Make a Difference in GOP Presidential Race?


Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pauses during a campaign stop at Food City on Monday, March 5, 2012, in Chattanooga, Tenn

The Sacramento Bee has interviewed two friends of mine who are also Republican activists here in California.

Today’s Super Tuesday contests won’t settle the GOP presidential nomination, yet it’s too soon to assume California’s June 5 primary will play a role in the outcome.

But depending on how delegates distribute after today’s 10 primaries or caucuses, Steve Frank, a senior California adviser to Newt Gingrich, says his candidate will make a major play for delegates in the state.

“If the delegates are as split as they appear to be, California will matter,” Frank said. He said the former speaker told him in a meeting two and a half weeks ago that he’ll stay in the race through Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry has endorsed him, and California.

“He made it clear to us that he’s staying in through Texas and California because he’s convinced those are going to be game-changers,” Frank said.

Conservative blogger Jon Fleischman isn’t as certain that anyone besides Romney has a chance. Once a Perry supporter, he’s still in “the angry stage” that he can’t find a candidate he loves.

“At some point, you shift from angry to resigned. And once you are resigned, you vote for Romney,” he said.

At this stage of the race and with Super Tuesday results still a few hours away, I would say that Newt Gingrich’s surge has passed and the California GOP Establishment will vote en masse for Mitt Romney.

California is a very large state and Romney, if need be, will run $ millions in political ads to negatively sink Gingrich. Now, if Ginrich’s Super PAC were to throw in a bunch of money, Californians might see a very expensive telelvison campaign war.

But, I doubt that Newt has the resources to successfully compete.


Flap’s California Morning Collection: January 11, 2012


Santa Monica Pier in the distance

I have returned from a family funeral in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Good to be back in California.

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

December tax revenues dip slightly from Brown’s estimate

State tax revenue dipped in December, falling $165.2 million short of Gov. Jerry Brown’s projections, according to a report released today by the state controller.

“While we saw positive numbers in November, December’s totals failed to meet even the latest revenue projections,” said Controller John Chiang in a statement.  “Coupled with higher spending tied to unrealized cost savings, these latest revenue figures create growing concern that legislative action may be needed in the near future to ensure that the state can meet its payment obligations.”

Revenue fluctuates throughout the year, with shortfalls being erased or exacerbated month to month. Brown’s Department of Finance pointed out that the gap is less than a 2% drop off from the state’s $8.41-billion revenue projection for December.

Gov. Brown’s cap-and-trade spending plan angers businesses

Gov. Jerry Brown has found a new pot of money to help him fill a $9-billion hole in his proposed budget: $1 billion from auctioning credits to allow California companies to emit greenhouse gases.

But business groups are already denouncing Brown’s plan as a back-door tax increase that they intend to challenge in court if the proposal is approved as part of the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

“At a time when the public is concerned about jobs and the economy, the budget proposes a new tax on California businesses for climate change activities,” said Dorothy Rothrock, vice president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Assn. “The anticipated $1 billion is not windfall revenue. The funds will be paid by California employers suffering the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

The so called cap-and-trade system is a critical piece of AB 32, California’s landmark legislation aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Modeled on a European program, it sets a cap on emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases for each industrial polluter or electric power plant. Facilities can exceed their cap only if they buy credits of other plants that have extra ones after reducing their own releases into the atmosphere.

The first auction, tentatively set for August, is projected to raise as much as $1 billion, which would be earmarked to “create jobs and deliver public health, economic and environmental benefits” as part of the state’s effort to curb global warming, the governor’s office said.

Romney’s controversial Anaheim business deal

One of the most controversial businesses taken over by Bain Capital, the company Mitt Romney ran for 15 years, was Anaheim’s DDi, which makes printed circuit boards. The company would eventually flounder, but not before Bain got 200 percent of its investment back.

As with much of Bain’s track record, it’s hard to know exactly how much credit or blame to lay at Romney’s feet. But rival Newt Gingrich was apparently referring to DDi today when talking about a company in an similar situation that Romney and Bain “looted.”

Romney touts his stint at Bain as proof of his ability to create jobs, while Gingrich and other critics point to the numerous firings, mass layoffs and bankruptcies that resulted from takeovers by the equity firm. I’ll get into the weeds of Romney’s record at Bain in a subsequent blog post, but wanted to first detail what happened to the company Bain took over in our own backyard during Romney’s 1984-to-1999 stint.

Bain invested $41 million in DDi starting in 1996.  Bain took the DDi stock public in 2000 and eventually liquidated most of its stake in the company, selling shares to the public as well as distributing them to its investors and partners. It generated at least $93 million from selling the stock, according to a 2003 Register story.

Romney personally sold $4.3 million of his DDi stock in May 2001.

And just in time. The tech bubble burst and by the end of 2002, DDi defaulted on debt and cut its workforce by 1,300 workers, to about 1,900. In 2003, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Later that year, the SEC cited Lehman Brothers, one of four investment firms that took DDi public, alleging it pressured analysts to lie about DDi’s worth.

Backers of Calif. public pension overhaul lag in fundraising effort

The effort to place a public pension overhaul before California voters this November has moved into a new and challenging phase.

Backers have reported contributions from but a handful of donors, and on Tuesday bashed Attorney General Kamala Harris for what they said was a “grossly misleading” official description of their measures.

The Sacramento-based California Pension Reform reported raising $128,600 late last month, mostly from Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

Experts say the group needs a huge infusion of cash quickly to have a chance to put one of its two proposals before voters. They are competing with up to a dozen serious initiatives also in play for the November ballot, and changes to districts and new election rules could siphon off even more money.

“It’s a crowded environment,” said Tim Rosales, a Republican political consultant with the Wayne Johnson Agency in Sacramento, “and a depressed economy.”

The law sets a 150-day deadline from Monday for the group to collect 807,615 signatures from registered voters to qualify one of the two measures for the ballot.

Enjoy your morning!